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The sex scandal that started Australia’s coronavirus second wave?

A second wave of coronavirus infections in Victoria has been blamed on security guards who admitted having sex with quarantined travellers at the hotel where they were being held. 

Suspected covid-19 sufferers staying at the five-star luxury Stamford Plaza in Melbourne were told to isolate in their rooms for a 14-day period after arriving in Australia. 

But an investigation has been launched after 31 cases of coronavirus were linked to the hotel, with guards revealing they had been slept with solo guests multiple times and had allowed families to go between rooms to play cards.   

Now the state of Victoria, which holds Australia’s second most populous city Melbourne, is battling a fresh outbreak of coronavirus, recording 77 new cases of the virus yesterday – its biggest total since March 31, bringing the total number of new cases since Monday to 289.

Melbourne had largely beaten the virus at the end of April and no new cases were recorded on June 5 but cases are now soaring upwards again. 

Premier of Victoria Daniel Andrews told the Herald Sun that there had been a ‘handful’ of breaches by staff at hotels including Stamford Plaza and Rydges on Swanston hotel, also in Melbourne, where isolated travellers were staying. 

Melbourne has gone back into lockdown with police checkpoints across the city – just weeks after Australia celebrated beating Covid-19.

Returning overseas travellers are ushered into the InterContinental Hotel for the beginning of their 14-day imposed quarantine in Sydney, Sunday, March 29, 2020

Staff inside the Stamford Hotel in Melbourne are seen moving luggage for guests in quarantine on June 25, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia

Staff inside the Stamford Hotel in Melbourne are seen moving luggage for guests in quarantine on June 25, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia

A presidential suite at Stamford Hotel, Melbourne, Australia, where quarantined guests and security guards allegedly 'mingled' too closely

A presidential suite at Stamford Hotel, Melbourne, Australia, where quarantined guests and security guards allegedly ‘mingled’ too closely

The fact that one of the country’s biggest cities has been sent back to square one with full lockdown restrictions is providing a salutary lesson about the dangers of easing restrictions too early as other countries emerging from the coronavirus pandemic.  

More than 300,000 residents living across the 36 suburbs that are in Melbourne’s 10 COVID-19 hotspots woke to police checkpoints as they were plunged back into lockdown today for another four weeks. 

Residents are only allowed to leave home for work or school, to give care or for essential shopping and exercise. Anyone who leaves their home for other reasons could get a $1,652 fine, and restrictions on buying food have been reintroduced to stop panic buying.

Police pull vehicles aside at a checkpoint in the locked-down suburb of Broadmeadows in Melbourne on July 2

Police pull vehicles aside at a checkpoint in the locked-down suburb of Broadmeadows in Melbourne on July 2

The curve in Victoria has skyrocketed over the past couple of weeks as coronavirus infections continue to grow from within the suburbs of Melbourne

The curve in Victoria has skyrocketed over the past couple of weeks as coronavirus infections continue to grow from within the suburbs of Melbourne

An investigation has been launched into the sex scandal at the luxury Stamford Plaza (pictured) which has been linked to 31 cases of coronavirus in the city after the guards slept with isolated travellers and also let families to go between rooms to play cards

An investigation has been launched into the sex scandal at the luxury Stamford Plaza (pictured) which has been linked to 31 cases of coronavirus in the city after the guards slept with isolated travellers and also let families to go between rooms to play cards 

Masked officers used light beacons and cones to flag down motorists approaching each checkpoint and each motorist is being asked where they are going, where they have come from and the reason for their travel. 

Australia has recorded a total of 104 deaths due to coronavirus so far and restrictions began to be eased from mid-May in a three-stage plan. 

The country’s low death rate has been explained by the fact it is a large island nation with borders than can be locked down and that it is inhabited by a comparatively small population that lives, in the main, in low-density cities. 

It comes as the UK is poised to lockdown more local areas after the city of Leicester reimposed restrictions after a spike in cases this week.  

In Victoria there are 415 active cases with 20 patients in hospital and four in intensive care, two more than yesterday.

Security guards tasked with enforcing COVID-19 quarantine at Melbourne hotels ‘had SEX with isolated guests and spread the virus across Victoria’ 

Security guards employed to monitor returned travellers inside quarantine hotels in Victoria were sleeping with locked-down guests in the lead up to the state’s second COVID-19 outbreak, it has been claimed. 

Claims that security staff were sexually active with some of the guests, including those in isolation in the hotels will form part of the investigation.

The allegations have been heard among police and government circles, as well as within the hotel industry, the Herald Sun reported.

Other allegations which will be investigated include security firms engaging in ‘ghosting’ – a practice which involves inflating the amount of guards listed on duty to charge the government and taxpayer more for their services. 

Operators charged the government for a certain number of staff even though there were less working, even giving fake names for the non-existent employees, the paper reported. 

 

Of the 77 new cases, 13 are linked to outbreaks, 37 were detected through routine testing and 27 further cases are under investigation. There are five previous cases that have been reclassified.  None are in hotel quarantine.

After just four weeks of freedom, those residents now under lockdown again will be banned from leaving their homes except for work and school, food shopping, giving care and daily exercise.

Restaurants, gyms, pubs and all other non-essential services in the suburbs must once again close their doors. 

Affected businesses will be compensated with a government cash grant of $5,000. 

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton confirmed Victoria was suffering a second wave after recording zero cases on 5 June.

He said: ‘One of the issues is people do move around a little bit. Obviously now, with the restrictions in force, people should be limiting their movement to the fullest extent possible.’ 

Residents from the ten postcodes in 36 suburbs will not be allowed to go on holiday and the government will announce a support package for affected tourism businesses tomorrow. 

The lockdown will last for four weeks and came into force from 11.59pm on Wednesday. 

Police will be enforcing the orders with random vehicle checks similar to random breath tests and will dish out on-the-spot fines. 

Meanwhile security guards employed to monitor returned travellers inside quarantine hotels in Victoria were sleeping with locked-down guests in the lead up to the state’s second COVID-19 outbreak, it has been claimed. 

Claims that security staff were sexually active with some of the guests, including those in isolation in the hotels will form part of the investigation.

The allegations have been heard among police and government circles, as well as within the hotel industry, the Herald Sun reported.  

Premier Daniel Andrews said DNA tests showed a number of cases could be linked to ‘staff members in hotel quarantine breaching well-known and well-understood infection control protocols’.  

He added: ‘[The tests] left me in no doubt that if not right now, but certainly back weeks and weeks ago, there was a significant ­infection control ­problem.

‘That is unacceptable to me. I’m sure that will be unacceptable certainly to all of those who will be impacted by the restrictions that we have had to reimpose.’

Officials said the breaches were linked to a significant number of cases in late May and early June. 

Staff are believed to have contracted the virus, taken it home to the suburbs and sparked the community transmission – with some spreading the virus by sharing a lighter. 

Other infections have been linked to the Rydges on Swanston hotel, which is also in the state capital. 

Andrews also said on Wednesday morning the whole state could be shutdown if the localised lockdowns, which began at midnight, did not stop the spread of the virus.

‘If we don’t get control of this really quickly we will end up with… a whole state shutdown,’ Mr Andrews said. 

Victoria has a population of 6.4 million, making it the second most populous state in Australia behind New South Wales. 

It comes as Gladys Berejiklian has warned New South Wales residents that a second wave of coronavirus could hit the state at any time.

In an interview on Sunrise on Thursday morning, the premier said residents must remain vigilant.

She said: ‘There is no doubt in my mind that during the course of the pandemic, we will get a spike,’ she said.

‘It is about how you deal with it.’ 

Police inspect driver licences at a checkpoint in the locked-down suburb of Broadmeadows in Melbourne on July 2

Police inspect driver licences at a checkpoint in the locked-down suburb of Broadmeadows in Melbourne on July 2

Members of the public line up outside a walk in COVID testing clinic in Brunswick, Melbourne on July 2

Members of the public line up outside a walk in COVID testing clinic in Brunswick, Melbourne on July 2

A healthcare worker is seen testing for COVID-19 in Keilor, Melbourne on Wednesday (pictured), as the state's premier warned all 6.4 million Victorians could soon be locked down

A healthcare worker is seen testing for COVID-19 in Keilor, Melbourne on Wednesday (pictured), as the state’s premier warned all 6.4 million Victorians could soon be locked down

This map shows the suburbs which will be subject to stay-at-home orders from Wednesday at 11.59pm after a spike in coronavirus cases

This map shows the suburbs which will be subject to stay-at-home orders from Wednesday at 11.59pm after a spike in coronavirus cases

Members of the public are tested at a walk in COVID clinic in Brunswick, Melbourne today

Members of the public are tested at a walk in COVID clinic in Brunswick, Melbourne today 

Ms Berejiklian said she was not considering shutting the border with Victoria because she had not received health advice to do so. 

‘Keeping the borders open is the right thing to do,’ she said.

However, New South Wales has banned people from the 36 Melbourne suburbs.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said anyone from those areas caught in NSW could face six months in jail and an $11,000 fine from 11.59pm on Wednesday.  

New South Wales residents are allowed to return home from those hotspots but must isolate at home for 14 days. 

Mr Hazzard said he was ‘still working through’ how police will enforce the rule – but said one option would be to quiz drivers with Victorian licence plates on where they have been.

There are no plans for border checkpoints.  

Victoria’s Deputy Chief Health Officer Annaliese van Diemen previously admitted there had been breaches of physical-distancing measures at the Stamford Plaza hotel.

‘There’s been some closer mingling than we would have liked of these guards in the workplace,’ she said.

‘There’s a large cohort of security guards and workers and unfortunately it does appear that quite a few of them have worked for single or multiple days whilst infectious.’ 

Andrews has said no international travellers will be allowed into Melbourne for the next two weeks while the quarantine program is reset under the supervision of Corrections Victoria, which run the state’s jails. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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